Need for social workers prompted partnership with SCCC, FHSU

Social worker program pilot would benefit students, area

Seward County Community College and Fort Hays State University will be collaborating on a bachelor’s degree program in social work with start date of next semester, January 2018. The proposed program offers benefits to student who want to continue studies while living and working in the area, and it promises quality-of-life improvements for community members as well.

Dr. Tim Davis, chair, department of social work at FHSU, visited the SCCC campus earlier this month to meet with student community groups and agencies to discuss the program and gauge interest.

“It was great to spend the day in Liberal,” Davis said. “I was able to go to a couple of different agencies and talk to several community leaders about the program and the reception was quite warm. I was also able to speak to several classes (at SCCC) and the student groups responded quite well.”

There are currently 10 students enrolled in the program with a possibility of 14 or more at the start of the program.

According to Davis, FHSU was approached by a local agency, who was having a difficult time recruiting social workers, to start a cohort program in Liberal. FHSU has cohort programs with Garden City and Dodge City community colleges.

“As we looked into it, we found that there is a huge need in Liberal, even more so than in Garden City or Dodge City, so we approached SCCC and talked to administration and they were on board right away,” Davis said.

Luke Dowell, dean of arts and science at SCCC, agreed with Davis about the lack of social workers in Liberal.

“There is a need for social workers in the area and hopefully the program can fill that void with students completing their degree and then staying in the area,” Dowell said, adding “It’s a great opportunity for students to stay in Liberal (to get a four-year degree). It gives them that opportunity if they can’t leave.”

The program would take three years to complete with a combination of online and once-a-week, face-to-face classes at the SCCC campus. Students could take SCCC classes to fulfill general education requirements and electives towards their FHSU degree as well as completing their associate degree.

For more information, please contact the SCCC Humanities Department at 417-1451.

— By Phillip Lee

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